IUMA: Apes Of God, The
You will never mistake The Apes of God's sound with any other. A shortcut to the future of music. Proof that high and low art, those Siamese twins, don't have to be separated. Stay tuned forever.
"...this is a challenging recording that brings a full melodic/avant-garde sound to powerful songs. (Dare I say poems as well?) Recent Leonard Cohen recordings come to mind..." -Rob Forman, ND Magazine
"Elements of language poetry, as well as the introduction of a variety of voices/personas give the songs color and vitality, felicity and freshness lacking in today's beige music industry." -Leslie Ann McIlory, Heart Magazine
"Wet Avalanche, by the Apes, is my cat's pajamas." -Alfred Kren, art critic & curator
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Gilbert Marhoefer is now artist in residence at Oracular Laboratory Multimedia in San Francisco. Gilbert contributes to the Apes in a number of ways, but his primary function is as the group's poet/lyricist and artistic director.
Jason Gibbs was associated with several other groups before joining the Apes of God. Gilbert and Jason met at the University of Pittsburgh, where Gibbs earned a PhD in Musical Composition. Outside of his work with the Apes as composer and multi-instrumentalist, Jason has been extensively travelling in Vietnam, researching the country's music and culture.
Guitarist, bassist, and composer Myles Boisen was one of the first pupils taken on by guitarist Robert Fripp. Myles then went on to play with many avant-garde musical talents (John Zorn, Fred Frith, and Henry Kaiser among others). Myles appears on two David Lynch soundtracks, "Wild at Heart" and "Fire Walk With Me" and was one of the co-founders of San Francisco's well-known jazz improv group, The Splatter Trio. Currently, Myles is working with the Apes and with Clubfoot Orchestra. Many of the Apes's recordings are engineered by Myles at his recording studio, Guerrilla Recording, Oakland, CA.
Drummer and percussionist John Hanes was involved in the early '80s New Wave scene, playing with bands such as Pearl Harbor and the Explosions, Chrome, and Romeo Void. His musical involvement of late has branched into two main projects, the Apes of God and Engorged With Blood. Also working with the Apes as drummer and percussionist is avant-garde drummer Gino Robair, (another original member of The Splatter Trio) and owner of Rastascan Records. Elisa Salasin makes occasional but important appearances on Apes' tracks as recording vocalist. Elisa lives in in Berkeley, CA, where she is a PhD candidate in Education. Mark Schifferli, of a somewhat hazy origination from the state of Alabama, joins the group regularly as bassist, guitarist and musical conscience.
THE APES OF GOD, "Country Life" (3:14) Spoken Word. College/Indie/Lo-Fi/Modern Classical. From SOLITAIRE YOU OWN THE WORLD (1991)
Country Life is one of the Apes of God finest spoken word recitals, appearing on their 1991 album Solitaire You Own the World (1991). It was played nationally, principally on college radio. Along with Eldorado and Brilliant Pebbles, Country Life became the Apes' most requested song.
The song is built around a gently pulsing cluster of tones, repeated like a chorus of cicadas or crickets. As the sound fills the space, it is set against its opposite: a powerful non-repeating bass line. Swirls of electronically-processed sounds provide restrained embellishments; even the murmur of air bubbles blown through a bucket of water are faintly audible.
But most memorable is the astonishing recital by Elisa Salasin delivered in a voice that manages to stay naive and knowing, centered and wandering all at once. The poem begins with a single line taken from a print advertisement whose commercial artifice is then seized upon and subverted. By expanding upon the poetic pretense of the ad copy, an actual nature poem is constructed.
Click here for lyrics to "Country Life."
THE APES OF GOD, "Why Can't Lansberry Get His Mail?" (2:38) Spoken Word. College/Indie/Lo-Fi. /Modern Classical
Our forefathers celebrated their living heroes through the verses of folk songs-songs which told their story and enshrined them in everlasting memory. Little is it suspected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that there too a genuine folk-hero has risen from their midst.
His name is Robert Roy Lansberry, and there came a time in the 'seventies when Lansberry became acutely conscious of a disturbing anomaly in his life: Lansberry, apparently, was no longer able to receive his mail. Frustrated at every turn by unreceptive civil servants, he was forced to draw the only possible conclusion: that officialdom itself was playing a Kafkaesque cat-and-mouse with his postage. Determined to smoke them out, Lansberry took to the streets complete with scrawled sandwich-boards, denouncing the unseen cabal. Every working day, all seasons, from Grant Street to Liberty Avenue, he canvassed for support with his placards, year in year out. Administrations changed, bureaucrats came and went. Despite the changes, some secret codicil remained in place and Lansberry still did not receive his mail.
He attracted the attention of a lot of pedestrians, however, and more importantly the press began to get inquiries about Lansberry. Years of single-handed combat told him that it was time to up the ante. Bypassing the effects, he went straight to the cause. His boards began to demand: Does silent radio control your mind? People were not prepared to say so, but they were glad he asked.
He travelled to Washington D.C. and marched implacably with his sandwich-boards in front of a watchful White House. He could be seen from the Treasury Department, and God knows from what other recondite locations. It was not as if he failed to put them on notice. Still, no mail.
Resolving to meet his foes on ground of their own choosing, he took the ultimate step. In the 1981 Democratic Congressional primary, Lansberry announced his candidacy. Against their machines and money, Lansberry hurled his life-savings of $641.00. He lost. But to the shock of the political community, he made a relatively spectacular showing of 14,000 votes thus capping one of the most resourceful grass-roots campaigns in our nation's history. He was now someone to be reckoned with. So why no mail?
From the release EDGE OF ARRIVAL, Oracular Laboratory Recordings, 1999.
Click here for lyrics to "Why Can't Lansberry Get His Mail?"
THE APES OF GOD, "Op Art" Spoken Word/College/Indie
It's 1965. Do you need your eyes checked? You might be looking at Op Art. Many a painter worked under that label and a few of them, like English painter Bridget Riley, made permanent contributions. In this post-Op era, the stamp of this shattering style echoes down the corridors of time. Rip-offs and appropriations abound, from advertising to interior design to music videos. A song about Op as cultural phenonmenon as well as visual catalyst, Op Art by The Apes of God considers the humor of that moment. A canvas of social swirls as well as visual, it's about making waves that crash the scene, whether on the picture plane or in the latest get-up.
From the release EDGE OF ARRIVAL, Oracular Laboratory Recordings,1999.
Click here for lyrics to "Op Art."
Uploaded by Jason Scott on